For the Love of Pollinators

It's no secret there is a concern with pollinator populations.  Whether your focus is environmental, personal, or financial, we should all bee working towards a solution.
Ted refers to honeybees as the canary in the coal mine. If you're unfamiliar with the saying - coal miners would carry canaries into the mines.  If the bird dropped dead that meant toxic gasses were leaking and they knew to get out.  Honeybees are our canary - letting us know the environment is in trouble and if we don't change we'll be in trouble too.

I want you to close your eyes and imagine your local grocery store without fruit, vegetables, milk, beef, ice cream, or even flowers.

Infograph from earthjustice.org Infograph from earthjustice.org


Just let that sink in.

Your options would be limited to, almost exclusively, processed foods.  Without the help of pollinators (which can range anywhere from moose in Vermont, to our favorite, the honeybee), this bare and boring grocery store would probably be our reality.

Honeybees are efficient pollinators, due to the fact that they spend most of their lives collecting pollen for their hive.  Pollen works as their primary source of protein, which they feed their developing eggs.  In giving the babies this heavy dose of protein, they grow up with the strength and energy to carry out the busy life of a worker bee.

When a honeybee pollinates a plant it is called cross-pollination. Honeybees have hairy little bodies that easily trap pollen, allowing it to be carried during their flight. Since honeybees tend to visit a series of the same type of flowers in succession, cross-pollination works when the pollen falls from their bodies and sticks to the pistil of a different flower.

One of my favorite things to do with my beehives is to simply sit and watch the bees fly in and out of the hives.  The foragers are always easy to spot because their bodies are dotted with yellow specks of pollen. Like coal miners dusted in black, their speckled yellow bodies signify a day of hard work.

We have a lot to owe to our world’s pollinators, who account for most of our world’s crops and 90% of our wild plants. According to the food and agriculture organization, that’s between $235 billion and $577 billion dollars’ worth of annual global food production that relies on pollinators. While we are so grateful to all of the world's pollinators (bats, hummingbirds, monarchs - a big round of applause to you for your hard work) here at Savannah Bee we are particularly interested in the complex business of honeybee pollination.

It’s astounding that we owe so much of the world’s beauty to one small creature. Our trees, flowers, ecosystems, and health all begin with the simple act of cross-pollination.  Thus, we must work to keep these honeybees pollinating. How can you help? Read here for 10 Ways that YOU can Help Save the Bees!

Submitted by Queen Bee Blogger Rayne MacPhee